Tuesday, June 30, 2009
It's been a while since the WWE has had a women's match on a PPV. But just to show that I give them equal time, here's the video of Michelle McCool winning the WWE Women's Championship over Melina. Melina has been a very ineffective babyface champ so I think this was inevitable. It's a decent match. Michelle does a very good job working on Melina's knee and Melina even remembers to sell it. The only problem with the match is the crowd is dead. The girls worked hard so they're not to blame. Neither the WWE or TNA push women's matches on PPVs as significant so I don't expect fans to care. It's unfortunate but it's a good match so check it out.
MICHELLE MCCOOL vs. MELINA-THE BASH PPV 6/26/2009
MICHELLE MCCOOL vs. MELINA-THE BASH PPV 6/26/2009
And that brings me to the title reign of one Misaki Ohata. I got a good laugh out of her winning the JWP Junior/POP Titles on last month's Ibuki show because it was the personification of delusional desperation. I thought Mariko Yoshida had more sense. They had to get the belts off of Hiroyo Matsumoto because she's not a junior anymore. Of course the obvious destination for them is JWP's Pinkie Mayuca. But Yoshida convinced JWP owner Commando Bolshoi to let Ohata hold the titles for a while. Yoshida's motivation was she thought making Ohata a champ would give Ohata confidence and self esteem that she doesn't have. Yoshida said on her blog that she cried when Ohata won the belts. Of course it hasn't changed the way Ohata is booked. She hasn't won since and is scheduled to lose the belts to Pinkie Mayuca on a July JWP show. She will defend the titles on next week's Ibuki show against Io Shirai. That Ohata is destined to be a transitional champ isn't surprising. Look at the way she was booked at the Jaja Uma tournament a couple of months ago. She obviously hasn't earned enough respect to get meaningful wins outside Ibuki. Yoshida made a sentimental decision that isn't going to help Ohata get respect anywhere else. Even with a title belt, she's still a jobber. Remember that's why Haruka Matsuo quit the joshi business.
Joe Liggins was a pioneer of R & B and a staple of the Los Angeles music scene for several decades. He had his biggest success in the 40s and was one of the artists who paved the way for Rock 'n' Roll. He was born July 9, 1915 in Guthrie, OK. He moved to San Diego in 1932 and then moved to Los Angeles in 1939. He wrote The Honeydripper in 1942 while playing piano for Sammy Franklin's Calfornia Rhythm Rascals. When Franklin refused to record the song, Liggins started his own band with sax players Willie Jackson and James Jackson Jr. The song became very popular in clubs and Liggins usually jammed for fifteen minutes. Exclusive Records owner Leon Rene convinced Liggins to record a shorter version and the single of Honeydripper topped the R & B charts for 18 weeks in 1945. That ties it with Louis Jordan's Choo Choo Ch' Boogie. But Rene was unablr to keep up with the demand and Jimmie Lunceford had a much bigger hit with the song. Liggins re-recorded Honeydripper when he signed with Specialty Records in 1950. That's the version on this comp along with hits like Pink Champagne and Little Joe's Boogie. Liggins left Specialty in 1954 and didn't record much after that as his music was out of fashion. But he continued to play Los Angeles clubs with his band until his death on July 26, 1987 at age 72. Here's Joe Liggins & The Honeydrippers performing Honeydripper Los Angeles 1983.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Album:Midnight, Moonlight & Magic: The Very Best Of Henry Mancini
Henry Mancini is one of the all time great film composers with four Oscars and twenty Grammys. This theme to the 1959 TV series Peter Gunn was his first hit even after RCA Records bungled the release. Mancini's music always had jazz elements and many West Coast jazz musicians worked for him regularly. He was born Apr. 16, 1924 in Cleveland. He was a big jazz fan growing up and after serving in the military in WWII, Tex Beneke hired him as pianist and arranger for the Glenn Miller Orchestra. His first film score was for the Abbott & Costello film Lost In Alaska. This led to Mancini scoring 1954's The Glenn Miller Story and 1956's The Benny Goodman Story. But Peter Gunn is what put him on the map. When the series became popular, RCA asked Shorty Rogers to record it. He told them Mancini should record it himself. He recorded it but RCA didn't release it as a single and only did so after Ray Anthony charted with his version of Peter Gunn. Mancini's Peter Gunn album sold a million copies. Mancini had a lot of success with his scores for Breakfast At Tiffany's, The Pink Panther and many others. You can get all his great themes on this comp. Henry Mancini was working on the Broadway version of Victor Victoria when he died of pancreatic cancer on June 14, 1994 at age 70. Here's Henry Mancini with the Terry Gibbs Orchestra performing Peter Gunn on Steve Allen 1984.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Plenty of country music artists crossed over to pop in the 60s. Roger Miller was probably more successful than most because of his use of humour. King Of The Road was his biggest hit and is just one of twenty songs on this excellent comp from Mercury Chronicle. He was born Jan. 2, 1936 in Fort Worth, TX. His father died when Roger was a year old so he was moved to an aunt & uncle's farm in Oklahoma. His cousin's husband was the popular singer Sheb Wooley. He taught Miller to play guitar. Some misadventures landed Miller in The Army in Korea. After his discharge, he moved to Nashville to persue a music career. Things didn't work out and he moved to Amarillo to become a fireman. That didn't work out either and he moved back to Nashville when Ray Price hired him for his band. Finally Miller started having success as a songwriter. Miller signed with Decca Records in 1958 and then moved to RCA. His lack of discipline was causing problems with record company executives and musicians. Miller wanted to go to Hollywood to try acting so he recorded some music for the fledgling Smash label to make some money. But then Dang Me topped the country charts and was a top ten pop hit in 1964. His follow up Do-Wacka-Do reached #15 and then King Of The Road topped the country charts and reached #4 on the pop charts. Apparently Miller wrote the song after seeing a sign reading "Trailers For Sale Or Rent" in Chicago and then an encounter with a hobo in Boise. King Of The Road would be the biggest hit of Miller's career. His final top ten pop hit was Little Green Apples in 1967. He moved to Columbia Records after Smash closed and though he didn't have as much success as a recording artist, his Broadway musical Big River was a huge success and won seven Tony Awards in 1985. Roger Miller died of lung cancer on Oct. 25, 1992 at age 56. He was a lifelong cigarette smoker. His music has been very durable and memorable and I do recommend this All Time Greatest Hits CD. Here's Roger Miller performing King Of The Road 1966.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings have become an unlikely sensation with their retro 60s soul sound that reminds me a lot of The Ike & Tina Turner Revue or The Stax/Volt Revue. Bass player and bandleader Bosco Mann (Gabriel Mann) has wisely put the focus on the dynamic Sharon Jones. There are no instrumental solos and no keyboard. It's all on Sharon. But she's waited a long time for this opportunity and she sure is making the most of it. In the encore, Sharon talked about how she was told she was too old twenty years ago. Now because a couple of nice Jewish boys like Mann and sax player Neal Sugarman saw something in her, Sharon is headlining. Of course like all great soul singers, Sharon grew up singing in church and she sings every song with the emotion she learned as a child. They performed songs from their hit album 100 Days 100 Nights, a song from their upcoming album, and Sharon even sang I Want You Back as a tribute to Michael Jackson. The band is tight and very well rehearsed but they adlib seamlessly when Sharon leads them in a different direction. Mr. Mann clearly knows what he wants from this band. I would recommend Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings to any soul fan. The show was very energetic and I'd like to see them again. The accompanying pic from the show is courtesy of Brian Sherman.
Album:Misty Blue & Other Hits
The 1976 hit Misty Blue was the only top five hit for soul singer Dorothy Moore. It's actually a pretty good example of country soul and was a rare mainstream hit for Malaco Records. She was born Oct. 13, 1946 in Jackson, MS. She grew up singing in the church choir and formed a group called The Poppies. They had a minor hit in 1966 with Lullaby Of Love. She signed with Jackson based label Malaco Records in 1968. They release a lot of blues, R & B and gospel. She had several ballads that charted in the mid-70s but Misty Blue was the most memorable and reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976. It was originally a country song. It was written by Bobby Montgomery. He was Buddy Holly's best friend and had a long career in Nashville after Holly's death. The song was written for Eddy Arnold and he had a hit with it on the country charts in 1967 following Wilma Burgess' hit version in 1966. Ella Fitzgerald recorded Misty Blue in 1968. It's a timeless song. You can get all of Dorothy's Malaco hits on this comp. Dorothy Moore recorded for Volt Records in the 80s and returned to Malaco in the 90s. She currently records for her own Farish Street label. Here's Dorothy Moore performing Misty Blue in England 1976.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Song:Hang On Sloopy
Album:Hang On Sloopy: The Best Of The McCoys
Hang On Sloopy was a number one hit for The McCoys in 1965. The guys behind The McCoys were also behind the phony group The Strangeloves, Richard Gottehrer, Jerry Goldstein & Bob Feldman along with Bang Records owner Bert Berns. The McCoys were from Union City, IN. Singer guitarist Ricky Zehringer (born Aug. 5, 1947 in Fort Recovery, OH) was the leader along with his brother Randy Zehringer on drums and Richard Kelly on bass. They were known as Rick & The Raiders. Kelly left and was replaced by Randy Jo Hobbs. Sax player Sean Michaels and keyboard player Bobby Peterson also joined. The group was actually recruited to be The Strangeloves. The group name was changed to The McCoys after Hang On Sloopy was recorded. Bert Berns was behind that. Berns wrote Hang On Sloopy as Bert Russell along with veteran songwriter producer Wes Farrell (he produced The Partridge Family). The song was originally recorded by R & B group The Vibrations as My Girl Sloopy in 1964. The song hit number one in Oct. 1965. The McCoys also had a top ten hit with their follow up single Fever. Other McCoys songs were too much like Hang On Sloopy to be successful. They left Bang and recorded a couple of albums for Mercury. This comp has their Bang recordings. By this time, Ricky Zehringer had changed his name to Rick Derringer and he and his brother began a long association with Johnny Winter and his brother Edgar Winter. Derringer went on to a long career as a producer and had a big hit with Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo. Here's The McCoys performing Hang On Sloopy in 1965.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
There were two new products of interest at the show this year. Actually, they're both products we are looking at for the co-op. One of the biggest problems for the disabled is kitchen fires. This is mostly because we have to reach to get to the burners and a sleeve can catch fire. This is also a problem with seniors. Pioneering Technology of Mississauga was at the show to introduce a product called safe-T-element. This product is designed to prevent cooking fires. It is an upgrade for standard coil stovetops. Safe-T-element is an electronically controlled solid cover plate that is installed on top of your existing stovetop burner. A patented control unit inside the stove controls the temperature of the plate cover allowing it to only reach a maximum of 350C/662F. Upon reaching that temperature, the oven automatically shuts off. It's also supposed to save electricity. But the main thing is to prevent the most common cause of fires in the home, kitchen fires. We are considering getting these for all our co-op units and seniors housing in particular should look at this. for more info, contact Safe@Home at 1-877-542-8855 or email@example.com
Bedbugs have become an epidemic in highrise buildings. You don't want to know what the co-op has to do to get rid of bedbugs. Then the prson who had the bedbugs has to get all new bedding and well, it's not pleasant. The preventative solution is to get hypoallergenic bedding. Caber Distributors were at the People In Motion show to introduce Protect-A-Bed's AllerZip Bedding Encasement for your box spring and mattress. The product is available with either cotton or polyester cover. But the main thing is that Protect-A-Bed's patented Bug Lock Secure Seal are bed bug entry proof, bed bug escape proof, air vapour porous, waterproof and absorbent, has a dust mite barrier and offers total allergy protection. The product is available for all sizes of beds. Again, this is a product the co-op is looking at as preventative maintenance. Bedbug infestations are very expensive too. You can contact Caber Distributors at 905-479-5803 or 1-800-520-3152 or check out their website at http://www.protectabed.ca/ The People In Motion show is a free one stop shop for products and services for the disabled. Be sure to check out next year's show. I'll see you there.
Album:The Best Of Marshall Crenshaw: This Is Easy
Though Marshall Crenshaw has never had the commercial success he deserved, he is respected today as one of the best pop craftsmen of his generation. I guess he's a true cult figure. Someday, Someway was his only top 40 hit in 1982. He was born Nov. 11, 1953 in Detroit. He led a band called ASTIGAFA from 1968-73. Crenshaw's songwriting style is influenced by 50s rock and 70s soul. He responed to an ad in Rolling Stone and wound up playing John Lennon in the touring version of the Broadway show Beatlemania. Then he started performing at New York's New Wave scene. A single on Alan Betrock's Shake label got the attention of the major labels. Crenshaw signed with Warner Bros. and his debut album was released in 1982. Though it was highly acclaimed, the album didn't sell as well as expected. Rockabilly singer Robert Gordon already had a chart hit with Someday, Someway but Crenshaw also had a top 40 hit with the song. Maybe the album was too simple. Crenshaw's great songs preformed by a trio of Crenshaw, his brother Robert Crenshaw on drums and Chris Donato on bass. Producer Richard Gottehrer didn't go overboard with musical bells and whistles. His 1983 follow up album Field Day suffered from Steve Lillywhite's overproduction and it didn't sell anyway. Crenshaw also recorded for MCA and Razor & Tie and I guess none of them ever figured out how to sell him. This Rhino comp covers his Warners recordings. You may recall seeing Crenshaw playing Buddy Holly in La Bamba and he wrote the theme for the 2005 film Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Crenshaw has a new CD called Jaggedland on 429 Records. It was released a couple of weeks ago. You need to check out Marshall Crenshaw. Here he is performing Someday. Someway in 1982.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Album:Best Of Gil Scott-Heron
With his spoken word social and politically aware lyrics and funky backbeat, Gil Scott-Heron is one of the most important influences on hip hop and rap. Of course he's never had commercial success so here's your chance to learn more about him. He was born Apr. 1, 1949 in Chicago. His father Giles Heron was the first black to play for Glasgow's Celtic Football Club in the 50s. His mother sang with the New York Oratorial Society. His parents split up and Scott-Heron was sent to live with his grandmother in Lincoln, TN. She taught him music and when she died, he moved to New York to live with his mother at age 13. Scott-Heron first published his poetry in 1968. He attended Lincoln University outside Philadelphia and that's where he met Brian Jackson. Scott-Heron's writing started getting exposure in black magazines and that got the attention of veteran music producer Bob Thiele. Thiele signed Scott-Heron to his Flying Dutchman label in 1970 and Scott-Heron recorded several albums including classics like The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. At the time, Scott-Heron's mix of jazz, funk and spoken word was ground breaking. He left Flying Dutchman in 1973. Of course The Bottle is about alcohol abuse. It's from the 1974 album Winter In America and credited as Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson on Charles Tolliver's Strata East label. Scott-Heron soon became the first artist signed to Clive Davis Arista label and he released several albums until he was dropped in 1985. This budget comp is a very good intro to his music. He stopped recording but returned in 1993. As I said, he's a major hero to rappers. Since 2001, Gil Scott-Heron has been in and out of jail due to cocaine issues. He says he's working on a new album. Here's the video of The Bottle by Gil Scott-Heron.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Here's the video footage from the TNA Knockouts matches from Sunday's Slammiversary PPV. Angelina Love successfully defended the TNA Knockouts Title over Tara. The match was OK. It was nothing special. It's designed to launch a feud between them probably resulting in a Tara heel turn at some point. The interference from the Beautiful People was as expected and Tara going after them outside the ring is what cost her the match. My only quibble is do they have to make the ref so clueless. TNA does this way too much and they did it several times during this match. I have also incuded the video of the Monster's Ball match with Abyss & Taylor Wilde vs Raven & Daffney. Though the angle is stupid and I normally don't care for this type of match, this one is reasonably entertaining and Taylor gives a standout performance. Of course this kind of garbage wrestling is to be expected from Abyss & Raven but we look at Taylor as this cute little girl and who would expect that she is capable of some of this stuff. The leap from the speaker stand onto Daffney on a table is particularly memorable. Taylor & Daffney are having a thumbtack match on Impact this week. We'll see how that goes. Maybe this performance will convince TNA to knock off the Upset Queen crap and elevate Taylor to a bigger role. I'm not surprised she has the ability and she deserves credit for taking advantage of this opportunity. Enjoy the videos!
Angelina Love vs Tara (TNA Slammiversary 2009)
Uploaded by MissDaniGermany. - Basketball, baseball, pro wrestling and more sports videos.
TNA Slammiversary 2009 8/18
Uploaded by TNAIMPACTUPLOADER. - Discover the latest sports and extreme videos.
Angelina Love vs Tara (TNA Slammiversary 2009)
Uploaded by MissDaniGermany. - Basketball, baseball, pro wrestling and more sports videos.
TNA Slammiversary 2009 8/18
Uploaded by TNAIMPACTUPLOADER. - Discover the latest sports and extreme videos.
Song:Great Balls Of Fire
Album:The Definitive Collection
Like a lot of the legends of early Rock 'n' Roll, Jerry Lee Lewis grew up in church and was somewhat conflicted about his place in the music industry. He truly believed that he was singing "the devil's music". He was born Sept. 29, 1935 in Ferriday. LA. His parents motgaged the farm to buy a piano for Lewis and cousins Mickey Gilley and Jimmy Swaggart to learn to play. His mom sent him to a Christian school to play gospel music. But Lewis was already attracted to secular music and was in hot water frequently. In Nov. 1956, he went to Memphis to audition for Sun Records. Sam Phillips was away but producer Jack Clement signed Lewis and he started recording. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On and Great Balls of Fire both topped the charts in 1957. Add Lewis' on stage antics like tossing the piano stool across the stage and Lewis was a sensation. Legendary songwriter Otis Blackwell wrote Great Balls Of Fire. Lewis wouldn't record the song at first because he thought singing about fire was blasphemous. But it all came to a screeching halt when Lewis married his third cousin Myra Gale Brown in May 1958. The scandal killed his career. He was still under contract to Sun but they refused to record him. When his contract ended in 1963, Lewis signed with Smash Records and transitioned into a successful country artist. This Hip-O comp has Sun and Smash recordings. Jerry Lee Lewis is in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and continues to perform today. Here's Jerry Lee Lewis performing Great Balls Of Fire on American Bandstand 1957.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Well, not really. I'm sure you all enjoyed the video of Cristiane Cyborg choking out Aaron Tru. I think you'll enjoy this too. It was posted on Youtube by a Gina Carano fansite. It's a segment from the FOX Sportsnet series Sports Science that explains sports scientifically. At the end of the segment, she chokes out the host with a big smile on her face. I'm not sure how old this is but it was done a while back. It's pretty funny.
Song:Peppermint Twist Part 1
Album:Hey, Let's Twist: The Best Of Joey Dee & The Starliters
The 1961 number one hit Peppermint Twist obviously came out the Twist dance craze but also Joey Dee's popularity in New York City. He had a second top ten hit with Shout so he's not a one hit wonder. He was born Joseph DiNicola June 11, 1940 in Passaic, NJ. Joey Dee & The Starliters released singles as early as 1958. His big break came when agent Don Davis discovered him in a New Jersey club and booked him for one show in the Peppermint Lounge in New York City. They stayed for over a year. They became so popular that there were lines around the block. A lot of young musicians went through the band including Jimi Hendrix (as Jimmy James), Eddie Brigati, Gene Cornish and Felix Cavaliere of The Young Rascals and The Ronettes. Roulette Records producer Henry Glover signed Dee and Peppermint Twist reached number one in early 1962. Dee also starred in the film Hey, Let's Twist and he released several albums while he was hot. Of course things cooled off and Dee was finished by 1964. This Rhino comp has all his hits. Joey Dee has recorded occasionally over the years and still tours the oldies circuit today. Here's Joey Dee & The Starliters performing Peppermint Twist in 1962.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Song:I Had A Talk With My Man
Album:Chess Soul: A Decade Of Chicago's Finest
Dusty Springfield's version of I Had A Talk With My Man is probably better known but it was originally recorded by the underrated Mitty Collier. She recorded for Chess in the 60s but didn't have much commercial success. She was born June 21, 1941 in Birmingham. AL and grew up singing in church. She toured with the Hayes Ensemble gospel group and while visiting her brother in Chicago in 1959, she won DJ Al Benson's talent contest seven weeks in a row. Benson tipped off Ralph Bass of Chess Records and Mitty signed with Chess in 1960. She's an excellent singer but she never seemed to have much commercial success. I Had A Talk With My Man was her biggest hit in 1964 and it barely reached the top 40. The song is based on the James Cleveland gospel standard I Had A Talk With God and was written by Chess house producers Leonard Caston and Billy Davis. Kent Records has released a comp of Mitty's recordings but I think this 2CD Chess Soul comp is excellent for beginners. Mitty Collier left Chess in 1969 and recorded an album for William Bell's Peachtree label. But by 1972 she left secular music and returned to the church. She has recorded occasionally and is currently pastor of More Like Christ Christian Fellowship Ministries in Chicago. Check out this 1965 performance of I Had A Talk With My Man by Mitty Collier. I think you'll find it's a lost classic.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
What's next for Sarah Kaufman? Well, I know Strikeforce is talking to Kaitlin Young so I wouldn't be surprised if Kaitlin is her next opponent. Kaitlin is also a strong striker but I don't believe she can outpunch Sarah. At some point, Strikeforce is going to have to build towards a 135lb championship. I don't believe Sarah should have to move up to 145 so I don't consider her a challenger for Carano/Cyborg. Remember that Debi Purcell is already under Strikeforce contract. She could certainly fight at 135. Strikeforce also needs to look at the top fighters in that weight class. The two that come to mind are Roxanne Modaferri and Takayo Hashi. Strikeforce told MMA Junkie that they were talking to Roxy after MMA Junkie wrote a feature about her. Roxy told me that Strikeforce lied and are not talking to her. Hashi is one of Japan's top fighters and was under contract to EliteXC last year. These two fighters would be outstanding opponents for either Sarah or Debi. They need to bring in the best fighters who will put on the best show because Sarah and Debi are two of the best. And we're going to get five minute rounds too. Here's the video of last night's fight.
Song:Something In The Air
Album:Almost Famous: Music From The Motion Picture
Something In The Air was the only hit by the very short lived British trio Thunderclap Newman. The band was created by Pete Townsend and was on The Who's label Track Records. Roadie John "Speedy" Keen (born Mar. 29, 1945 in Ealing, South London, England) had written Armenia City In The Sky for The Who Sell Out so Townsend decided to create a band around him. he brought in Keen's pal from school pianist Andy "Thunderclap" Newman (born Nov. 21, 1942 in Hounslow, England) and teenage guitarist Jimmy McCullogh (born June 4, 1953 in Glasgow, Scotland). Keen wrote Something In The Air and Townsend produced the album. The song was a number one hit in England and has been a staple on oldies radio for years. But the band only made one album. Townsend never intended to have them tour and when he put together a touring band, the three guys didn't get along. That was the end of Thunderclap Newman. Something In The Air has been used in plenty of films and this soundtrack for Almost Famous is a very good oldies comp from the early 70s. Keen and Newman recorded solo albums in the early 70s. Keen later produced Motorhead albums. He died in 2002. McCullogh joined Stone The Crows and then joined Paul McCartney's Wings in 1974. He died of a heroin overdose in 1979 at age 26. Here's the video for Something In The Air by Thunderclap Newman.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Song:(We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock
Album:From The Original Master Tapes
Because Rock Around The Clock was the first Rock 'n' Roll song to top the charts, Bill Haley has been unfairly named as the man who invented Rock 'n' Roll...when he obviously didn't. But the song did popularize Rock 'n' Roll and paved the way for others so he was important. He was born July 6, 1925 in Highland Park, MI and grew up in Boothwyn, PA. Haley was a big country music fan and learned to play guitar as a child. His big break in music came when he joined The Downhomers in 1944. He left in 1946 and started a band called The Four Aces Of Western Swing and then The Saddlemen. They recorded for James Myers' Cowboy Records. He would become a key figure later. The Saddlemen bounced around various labels until they recorded a version of Rocket 88 for David Miller's Holiday Records in 1951. It didn't go anywhere at the time but Miller thought they were on to something. They recorded a song called Rock The Joint that got the attention of DJ Alan Freed and he supposedly coined the term Rock 'n' Roll on his show. Haley's business manager Jim Ferguson convinced the group to ditch the cowboy hats and change their name to Bill Haley & His Comets after Halley's Comet. Crazy Man Crazy was a top 20 hit in 1953. James Myers offered them Rock Around The Clock. The song was written by Tin Pan Alley songwriter Max Freedman who wrote Sioux City Sue. But Miller wouldn't let them record the song so producer Milt Gabler signed them to Decca Records. Rock Around The Clock was released in Apr. 1954 and reached #23 on the pop charts. Shake, Rattle and Roll also did well. But Myers was able to place Rock Around The Clock in the juvenile delinquency film The Blackboard Jungle. That did it. The song was #1 for eight weeks. And the rest is history. The bottom line is that Bill Haley made this music acceptable and he deserves credit for that. He had several more hits which you can get on this comp. But by the 60s, his popularity had waned in the US but he still toured the world. Bill Haley started to have health problems in the 70s and died on Feb. 9, 1981 at age 55. Here's Bill Haley & His Comets performing Rock Around The Clock on The Ed Sullivan Show 1955.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Song:The Game Of Love
Album:The Best Of Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders
The Game Of Love was a number one hit for the British Invasion group Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders in 1965. The lead singer was Glyn Ellis (born Oct. 28, 1945 in Manchester, England). He named himself after Elvis Presley's drummer DJ Fontana. In 1962 he led a group called The Jets. After a failed audition at the Oasis club, Fontana and bassist Bob Lang got together with guitarist Eric Stewart and drummer Ric Rothwell. Stewart was playing with another band but switched when The Mindbenders were offered a contract by Fontana Records. They named themselves The Mindbenders after a 1963 film starring Dirk Bogarde. They didn't seem to have much success at first but finally hit paydirt with the 1965 hit The Game Of Love. It was their first release in the US and topped the charts. The song was written by Clint Ballard Jr. who also wrote She's Not There for The Zombies. So a lot of fans think Ballard must have been related to The Zombies' Russ Ballard. But he was a veteran songwriter from Texas and also wrote You're No Good for Dee Dee Warwick. It's strange that British groups provided his biggest hits. Wayne Fontana left The Mindbenders for a solo career in Oct. 1965 and Stewart took over as lead singer. Fontana didn't have much success but The Mindbenders reached #2 on the singles charts with Groovy Kind Of Love in 1967. This comp has all their hits. Fontana continued to record but never had much success. He still performs today. The Mindbenders split in 1968 and Eric Stewart became partners with Graham Gouldman and they started 10cc, one of the best bands of the 70s. Here's Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders performing The Game Of Love at the NME Awards 1965.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Sad news today as the German TV network DW-World announced that alto sax player Charlie Mariano died Tuesday morning at age 85 at his home in Cologne, Germany. Jazz fans will be familiar with Mariano's days with Stan Kenton or Charles Mingus but he moved to Germany in the 70s and seemed to become more adventurous as he got older. He was born Carmine Ugo Mariano Nov. 12, 1923 in Boston. His childhood hero was Lester Young. He built his reputation in the clubs of Boston during the heyday of bebop playing with musicians like Jaki Byard and Quincy Jones. He first recorded as a leader in 1950. Mariano's big break came when he joined Stan Kenton's band in 1953 and then moved to California and worked regularly with "cool jazz" pioneer Shelly Manne. He taught at Berklee for a year and then married one of his students. That would be pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi. They started touring together in 1959. He also toured with Charles Mingus and played on the classic album The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady. After divorcing Toshiko in 1967, Mariano toured the world and eventually settled in Germany. He led a fusion band in the 70s called Osmosis. He had a group called Pork Pie with guitarist Philip Catherine, he was a member of The United Jazz & Rock Ensemble and Eberhard Weber's Colors. He recorded on plenty of labels including ECM and more recently Enja Justin Time. Charlie Mariano remained young by working with younger musicians and constantly exploring different musical cultures. And he was one of the last living bebop players and he will be missed. Here's Charlie Mariano performing Drachenburg with Wolfgang Dauner and Dino Saluzzi in Germany 1989. RIP Charlie Mariano.
GCM did a very strange thing yesterday. They held a press conference to announce some matches for the June 27 CAGE FORCE show and afterwards announced a couple of matches for the July 12 Differ Ariake show and one of those matches is a VALKYRIE match. It's almost like most of the media skipped out after the initial announcement and weren't told that there was another announcement. But CAGE FORCE did post something on their website and GB Ring did hang around for the second announcement. It's the number one contender match for Yuka Tsuji's VALKYRIE Featherweight Championship between Kyoko Takabayashi and V1. Takabayashi (pictured with GCM president Kubo) is 9-3 and she won over WINDY Tomomi on the Apr. 25 VALKYRIE show. V1 is 4-2 and won over Emi Fujino on the Apr. 25 VALKYRIE show. She also lost to Yuka Tsuji on the first VALKYRIE show. V1 was not at the press conference I don't see either of them beating Tsuji. I don't know if there will be any more VALKYRIE matches on this CAGE FORCE show. This is similar to what they did a few months ago. It's an important match for these two fighters and GCM seems to be treating it as an afterthought.
Here's a video from Nikkan Sports featuring Fuuka in a mask. This is to promote the FIESTA show July 4 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring which I think is being promoted by Hiroshi Ogawa. The concept of the show is a tribute to lucha. Every wrestler on the show will wear a mask. It will be Fuuka's first time wearing a mask and she's teaming with her "sister" Fuuka Kidd. The opponents will be Tojuki Leon and A*YU*MI. Of course that is Ayumi Kurihara also wrestling in a mask for the first time. It may also be the first time Fuuka is teaming with Fuuka Kidd. Fuuka says it will be fun to wrestle in a mask once. I thought it was hard to breathe in those things. Enjoy the video.
Song:Duke Of Earl
Album:Nothing Can Stop Me: Gene Chandler's Greatest Hits
Most folks familiar with the 1962 hit Duke Of Earl probably look at Gene Chandler as a one hit wonder. But along with Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler he is one of the pillars of Chicago soul and has had a long career in music. Duke Of Earl was one of those happy accidents that happen sometimes in the music business. He was born Eugene Dixon July 6, 1937 in Chicago. In 1957 he became lead singer of a doo wop group called The Dukays. Dixon was drafted and was in the US Army in Germany for three years. He rejoined The Dukays upon his return and they released a single on Nat Records in 1961. Duke Of Earl was supposed to be the follow up single but Nat was unable to release it. Vee-Jay Records executive Calvin Carter heard the song but only wanted Dixon. He wasn't interested in the rest of the group. So Duke Of Earl was released as Gene Chandler and it was #1 on the pop singles chart for three weeks in 1962. Chandler appeared in the 1962 film Don't Knock The Twist and performs Duke Of Earl wearing top hat, tails and a monocle and carries a cane. Chandler wrote Duke Of Earl and I guess that opening hooks people. Chandler left Vee-Jay and recorded for Chess and Brunswick simultaneously in the 60s. He had R & B hits but had another top ten pop hit in 1970 with Groovy Situation on Mercury. He continued to have success on the R & B charts through the 70s as a singer and a producer of other artists. This Varese Sarabande comp covers Chandler's entire career. Gene Chandler still tours today. Here's Gene Chandler performing Duke Of Earl in the PBS special Doo Wop 50.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Because of the language barrier, we don't get to see many interviews with Cristiane Cyborg. So kudos to Aaron Tru of MMA Worldwide for taking an interpreter to where Cristiane is training in Huntington Beach, CA to get a proper interview. You might be asking what is she doing there? Why isn't she training in Brazil? For one thing, her husband is fighting in the main event of this Friday's Strikeforce show. And it's not unusual for foreign fighters to come to the US to train for upcoming fights well in advance. The interview itself is OK. It doesn't tell me anything new. The nonsense at the end with Cristiane choking out Aaron reminded me of Hulk Hogan putting Richard Belzer to sleep before the first Wrestlemania in 1985. It was pretty funny. But there's no oops here like there was with Hogan and Belzer. Hopefully Aaron will do a similar interview with Gina Carano and she'll beat him up too. Enjoy the video!
Song:Crying In The Chapel
Album:The Roots Of Rock 'n' Roll: 1946-1954
Any discussion of the history of Rock 'n' Roll or doo wop should start with The Orioles. They were one of the first R & B vocal groups and were very influential on the music of the 50s. The Orioles were from Baltimore and were led by lead singer Sonny Til (born Earlington Carl Tilghman aug. 18, 1928 in Baltimore). Other members were tenor Alexander Sharp, baritone George Nelson, bass Johnny Reed and guitarist Tommy Gaither. They started performing in 1947 in Baltimore amateur shows as The Vibra-Naires. They met 18 year old aspiring songwriter Deborah Chessler when she was working in a shoe store. She became their manager and she got them an spot on the Arthur Godfrey radio show in New York. This got the attention of Jubilee Records owner Jerry Blaine and they signed and changed their name to The Orioles. Their first single was the Chessler song It's Too Soon To Know and it topped the R & B charts in 1948. The Orioles were doing great until a Dec. 1950 auto accident killed Gaither and severely injured Nelson and Reed. Reed returned to The Orioles but Nelson left and was replaced by Gregory Carroll and Ralph Williams was the new guitarist. The Orioles had their biggest success with Crying In The Chapel. It was #1 on thr R & B charts for five weeks in 1953. The song was written by country music songwriter Artie Glenn and his son Darrell Glenn recorded it first but The Orioles version was a much bigger hit. Elvis Presley had a hit with Crying In The Chapel in 1965. The Orioles split up soon after Deborah Chessler quit being their manager in 1954. This various artists 3CD comp from Hip-O looks at The Orioles in the context of 1946-54 but you can also get Crying In The Chapel on the 4CD box set The Doo Wop Box. Sonny Til continued leading versions of The Orioles until his death in 1981 and Johnny Reed continued until his death in 2005. The Orioles were inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1995. Here are The Orioles performing Crying In The Chapel on the PBS special Doo Wop 51.
Monday, June 15, 2009
The Sonics were a minor league garage band who weren't much in the 60s but are now hailed as a big influence on punk of the 70s and the Pacific Northwest music scene in particular. The group was from Tacoma, WA and started in 1963 when guitarist Larry Parypa hooked up with drummer Bob Bennett of a local band called The Searchers. Lead singer and organist Gerry Roslie and sax player Rob Lind were in that band. Larry's brother Andy played bass. The Sonics started performing in local clubs and they got the attention of The Wailers bassist Buck Ormsby and he signed them to their Etiquette label. The Sonics performed a crude mix of standard garage band covers but Roslie's Little Richard influenced stage antics and his original songs like The Witch got them a fan following. They recorded two albums for Etiquette and then signed with Jerden Records in 1966. The cleaned up sound of the Jerden recordings killed The Sonics and they split up in 1968. This various artists comp from Ace Records includes several of their songs on Etiquette. The Sonics have reunited occasionally and actually toured last year. They are now revered by punk bands especially in their home turf of Washington state. Here are The Sonics performing The Witch in Seattle Oct. 2008.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Song:Rainy Night In Georgia
Album:Endlessly: The Best Of Brook Benton
Smooth R & B singer Brook Benton had a lot of success in the late 50s and early 60s. But you may not know that he had a lot of success as a songwriter and producer as well. The 1970 hit Rainy Night In Georgia was his final top ten pop hit. He was born Benjamin Franklin Peay Sept. 19, 1931 in Lugoff, SC. He moved to New York in 1948 and was a member of various gospel groups. He returned home and joined a group called The Sandmen. They went back to New York and signed with Okeh Records. But the label decided to push Peay as a solo artist and changed his name to Brook Benton. Benton was already making a good living as a songwriter. He wrote A Lover's Question for Clyde McPhatter. In 1959, Mercury Records A & R executive Clyde Otis convinced Benton to join the label and they produced many of Benton's hits along with hits for plenty of other artists. It's a Matter Of Time was his first top five hit and plenty of others followed. They also produced hits for Dinah Washington, Timi Yuro, The Diamonds and others. Benton left Mercury in 1964 and after recording for RCA and Reprise, Benton signed with Atlantic in 1969. He was on their Cotillion label. Jerry Wexler was looking for songs for Benton and songwriter Donnie Fritts told him about Tony Joe White's song Rainy Night In Georgia. Arif Mardin produced and arranged the song and it reached #4 on the pop charts in 1970. It was Benton's final pop hit. This Rhino comp covers his Mercury & Cotillion songs. Brook Benton continued to tour and record until his death on Apr. 9, 1988 at age 56. Here's Brook Benton performing Rainy Night In Georgia in 1982.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Album:The Definitive Collection
Don Williams was one of the most popular country artists of the 70s & 80s with a constant string of hits. He is known as The Gentle Giant. He never really crossed over to the pop charts but he does have a significant fanbase in Europe. He was born May 27, 1939 in Floydada, TX and grew up in Portland, TX which is near Corpus Christi. His mom taught him to play guitar. He started out in the early 60s performing as The Strangers Two with Lofton Kline. They recruited Susan Taylor in 1964 and called themselves The Pozo-Seco Singers. They had a couple of modest hits in 1966. They split in 1971 and Williams persued a solo career in Nashville. Initially he signed as a songwriter with Jack Clement and then started recording. His 1974 breakthrough hit We Should Be Together earned him a contract with ABC Records. This began a string of country music chart toppers including Tulsa Time in 1978. Though Williams is a songwriter, most of his hits have been written by others. Tulsa Time was written by slide guitarist Danny Flowers and it was named Single Of The Year for 1978. Williams even appeared in some Burt Reynolds films like Smokey & The Bandit. Back problems forced Williams to slow down his tour schedule in the 80s and he moved to Capitol Records in 1986. But he continued to top the country charts. He moved to RCA in 1989 and his final hit was in 1992. This 2004 comp from MCA Nashville has 25 songs and covers his entire career. Don Williams held a retirement tour in 2006 but he's still recording. His latest CD The Journey was released by Aspiron Records Sept. 2008. Don Williams' music may not be flashy but it is enjoyable. Here's Don Williams performing Tulsa Time in Holland 1982.